Migraines are a painful problem that can interfere with everyday life, leaving many holed up inside with the curtains drawn when migraine strikes.
Treatment drugs currently on the market may not be effective, but a recent discovery may help to provide relief from the pain and vision issues.
Candesartan is a medication designed to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, but a recent study found that it can be just as effective at treating migraines as propranolol, a migraine medication.
Candesartan, in case it doesn’t sound familiar, is marketed under the name Atacand, while propranolol is marketed under the name Inderal. But there are also several copies on the market.
Doctors in Norway carried out research into the effects of this high blood pressure medication on migraine headaches, following reports by a retired professor and migraine sufferer who found by chance that taking the high blood pressure medication helped to improve his headaches.
The new study confirms the theory that this medication can help to deal with migraines, even among patients who see no results when taking propranolol.
Previous studies have found that roughly 20 percent of patients experiencing migraines will feel better after taking medication, even if they have taken nothing more than a placebo.
However, blind tests conducted by the Norwegian doctors found that an additional 20 to 30 percent of patients reported improvements upon taking candesartan. Not only did the medication help to improve their migraines, but candesartan helped to prevent the onset of migraines, a significant win.
The study examined 72 adult patients, all of whom experienced migraine headaches no less than twice a month. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three trial groups for three 12-week treatment periods with 160 mg slow-release propranolol, 16 mg candesartan, or placebo. Each group had four weeks of downtime before starting the next series.
The findings? Propranolol and candesartan were both superior to the placebo, and their success rates were almost identical.
So what does this mean for those with episodic or chronic migraine, estimated to be more than 10 percent of the global population, children included?
If propranolol or other treatments don’t work, it’s time to try candesartan. Another incentive, the patent is running out on candesartan, currently marketed as Atacand, which means that the medication will soon be available in the less expensive generic form.